English Sparkling Wine: no longer the apprentice?

After watching last week’s episode of The Apprentice, I couldn’t help feeling that English Sparkling Wine had been put in a horrible dress and made to look silly. In fact, the good stuff is really good nowadays. We’ve got vineyards on the South Downs that share a similar climate and soil profile to the Champagne region. The better (and more expensive) English Sparklers are made from the same grapes as Champagne, namely Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Tonight, I had a bottle of Champagne in the fridge (always, darling, always) and my mother turned up with a bottle of English sparkling wine from Waitrose. So we decided to do a blind tasting to see what she thought (it was either that or re-create the advert). Here’s what happened when Granny went to Waitrose.

Now, please note that the English Sparkling Wine tasted was NOT made from the same blend of grapes as the Champagne, but nonetheless they are about the same price. Next time, I’ll taste like with like. In the meantime, anyone got any better ideas for an advert?

Here are links to the wines tasted, with my notes on them:

Champagne: Tesco Finest Premier Cru Brut NV, £19.94, Tesco
Great value textbook Champers with added oomph. Crumbled digestive biscuit in a glass. Got that je ne sais quoi.

English Sparkling Wine: Chapel Down Vintage Reserve Brut, £18.99, Waitrose
Brilliant stuff, so very English. Think apple bobbing. A really good place to start if you want to fall in love with English Sparkling Wine.

Lord Sugar probably won’t see me now x

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19 Comments

  1. Oh thanks for this. I really do want to fall in love with English sparkling wine. I interviewed Bob Lindo from Camel Valley wines in Cornwall recently and their wine is very, very good indeed! Oh I want to test sparkling wine very much right now, but think I'll have to make do with my cup of tea!

  2. Brilliant! Well done Granny! Lovely to see your Mum. I always remember how kind she was one day when I was rather unwell at work!

  3. You're hired! Well your mum is anyway.

  4. The Apprentice ads were really shocking, we were hiding under our cushions in horror. I have a GREAT ad in mind, will share it with Al (as I like to call him, none of this Lord crap) next time he comes for tea. What a lovely Mum you have (bet she loves coming to your house, my only dream for my kids is that one of them becomes a wine expert /buyer)

  5. Yeah English wine has had a bit of a bad rep! I think it's about time we start exploring our regional grapes a bit closer xx

  6. I did enjoy that episode of the Apprentice – especially that they didn't realise the ad with the 'bridezilla' was actually awful. And calling an English wine 'Grandeur' was priceless too. I think you should create your own ad and send it to Sir Alan – your mum could definitely be the star….

  7. I suspect that the English Wine buffs might be going for something a bit more "sparkly" than "very pleasant"… but you never know…

    My ad. Which I was shouting at the screen…: you start with a glass of sparkling wine, and then you focus in and in and in on one of the bubbles and go through the bubble into lots of lovely English scenes (white cliffs (rubbish for growing grapes, I know, but hey), bluebell woods (ditto), pretty castles, that sort of thing) and then back into a map of England (not the UK, btw, we up here get v cross about being lumped in with "England" when people mean the whole thing, or vice versa) which turns into a bubble and then pans back to the glass of what we now know is English Sparkling Wine.

    All to a soundtrack of Elgar Serenade for Strings, or something similar.

    And I want a credit.

  8. Damn! Am at work and can't watch Grandma Knackered. Really want to.

  9. I can't see the video and didn't watch the apprentice…helpful so far then! BUT I've been invited to come and do an English wine tasting session at my local wine shop so I shall report back with my findings (you're welcome) x

  10. Excellent information provide for us…………………

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